Beware of Car Crashes in Highway Construction Work Zones

August 16, 2021

In the U.S., seasonal construction is vital to maintaining transportation infrastructure such as roads and bridges. However, due to the constricted nature of these work zones, constantly changing traffic conditions, poor visibility, and distracted driving, these are also a source of frequent auto accidents.

Work Zone Crashes

In analyzing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data sets, the National Safety Council reported 842 fatalities and 39,100 injuries in highway construction work zone crashes in 2019.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction work zone crash due to the negligence of another driver, our Louisiana car crash attorneys can help you recover the costs of medical care, repairs to your vehicle, lost wages, and compensate you for pain and suffering.

How to Minimize Risks

Driving carefully and defensively is an essential skill for staying safe on the road, and highway construction work zones require even more vigilance.

Avoid Distracted Driving:

Distracted drivers are 29 times more likely to experience a traffic collision or near-collision in construction work zones, according to a study by the University of Missouri. This illustrates the importance of focusing on the road ahead.

When driving through a construction work zone, you have narrow lanes as well as obstacles and workers to navigate. Allowing yourself to be distracted under these circumstances can have potentially lethal consequences.

Instead, drive defensively; anticipate reckless or irresponsible behavior on the part of other drivers, and adapt accordingly. Watch for other rivers merging late or slamming on their brakes at the last minute. 

Increase Visibility:

Regardless of legal requirements, you should turn your headlights on for maximum visibility even during the day, especially in a work zone. This can reduce the risk of traffic collisions and ensure you stand out in heavy rainfall or foggy conditions.

Maintain Safe Stopping Distances:

Observe the 2- or 3-second rule. You should have a 2–3 second time window to stop when you see the vehicle in front of you has begun braking. Tailgating is a common cause of rear-end collisions and resulting injuries. If the car or truck ahead of you stops, you need adequate time to avoid a crash. Watch for the brake lights of vehicles ahead of you and maintain a safe driving distance at all times.

What constitutes a safe stopping distance depends on your speed and the conditions of the road. At a rate of 50 miles per hour, you will need approximately 300 feet of stopping distance (100 yards) on dry roads. When the road is wet from rain, you should extend this to 400 feet. If the roads are icy, as in winter, you may need as much as 1,250 feet (more than 400 yards) to stop safely.

Have your car serviced regularly to keep your brakes in working order and ensure your signal lights are functioning correctly.

Observe Signs and Prepare

Observe all traffic signs. If you see a “Road Work Ahead” sign, be prepared to adjust your speed and watch for workers, equipment, and slowed vehicles.

Always check traffic and road conditions between your starting point and destination. This should provide you with ample time to drive carefully so you won’t feel a need to rush. Listen to traffic conditions on the radio if possible, but always keep your eyes on the road.

Penalties for Unsafe Driving

The penalties for unsafe driving in construction work zones vary from state to state; however, they are generally more severe than fines on regular roadways. The increased severity is due to the potential consequences, both to drivers and construction crews, of reckless or irresponsible behavior.

In Louisiana, if a driver exceeds the speed limit on the part of the highway that’s under active construction or construction workers are present, the fine doubles.

Contact Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction work zone crash, you need a skilled Louisiana car crash attorney in your corner. At Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, we care about people and are committed to providing legal representation that gets results.

We understand that every accident case is different and are prepared to fight for your compensation, whether that means standing up to insurance companies or going to trial.

At our law firm, you can count on being treated like family. For more information about seeking legal counsel if you are injured in a construction zone crash, contact us today to arrange your free consultation.